Volume 29 Issue 6

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

Welcome back to school and to Term 2. You will have noticed that the media at the moment is filled with the announcement made by the Prime Minister of the new funding model know as ‘Gonski 2.0.’ Part of the report is that a number of Catholic independent schools will lose  a significant amount of funding over the next 10 years. I would like to reassure you that St Patrick’s College has at no time been overfunded by any of the governments, so is not one of the 24 schools that will be most impacted by this change. If the model does in fact align funding with need, we could see a modest increase in our funding for the next funding cycle. As there is little detail at this point, we will have to remain hopeful for a better outcome for the girls at the College. It is our belief that all students in Australia are entitled to education funding, regardless of the sector they choose to provide that education.

Last week, Year 9 girls participated in their camp. This is quite a gruelling camp as there is no mobile phone access, no showers, no flushing toilets and girls sleep in a tent one night and very basic cabins the other. The purpose of the camp is to build resilience. It is the third camp the girls will have attended and each builds on the skills and capabilities of the one prior. Why do we see such value in building resilience in the girls? Our girls, your daughters, live in a very challenging world. They are constantly bombarded with messages both written and in images of what they should do, should look like and how they should act. The mold is very narrow and unfortunately when they don’t fit it, or try to change it, they will find resistance. It is at those times they need to be resilient. They need to be able to reassure themselves that they are okay, that they are good and that they will get through the adversity. Spending three days in the bush, feeling very much out of their comfort zone, helps them to appreciate their own strengths, skills and qualities. In walking out of the bush, they realise that they made it and in spite of the many challenges, they enjoyed themselves. These are rare experiences but very valuable in their development into healthy young women.

Almost every month we come across material that the girls are accessing that has concerning content. You may have come across some of these: a Netflix series called ’13 Reasons Why’  or a new website called ‘Blue Whale’. Both expose girls to very disturbing concepts that can have a significant impact on their health and safety. Sadly, neither of us can protect the girls 24/7 from this type of material. So it becomes crucial that the girls recognise material that is high risk for them and that they feel comfortable to seek advice from you or the College. They need to be resilient to be able to avert the influence of these websites and films and differentiate between what is fiction and what is fact. They also need to be protected by parents and schools through the use of clear expectations, structures and rules which provide them with security and stability. It is not easy raising girls into young women in this day and age. However open communication, being curious and interested in what your daughter does and what she is interested in will contribute to a level of trust between you that will be invaluable when she finds herself in a situation she is not sure she can manage on her own. If you are aware that you daughter has accessed any material that is concerning, please don’t hesitate to contact the College and we can support you and your daughter in managing this.

On 6 June, we are hosting a presentation from Dianne McGrath who is one of the shortlisted scientists hoping to join the expedition to the planet Mars. Dianne will come to the College to speak to the girls about her work and how she was successful in progressing to the next stage of the competition. If you would like to attend the assembly, you are more than welcome. It will begin at 8.45am in the Mary Sheil Centre. Parents were also invited to attend the opening address of the Year 9 STEM day this Friday. Representatives from several universities and industry will be working with the girls in workshops to build cars, solar panels and other exciting projects. I would like to acknowledge the work of Mrs Debra Bourne and the STEM team, who has organised this day for the girls.

Last Tuesday, we held the ANZAC assembly at the College. Federal member Dr Michael Freelander, Mr Walter Robinson from Campbelltown RSL and Mr Jeff McGill were our special guests. The girls from the history committee were exceptional in conducting the assembly. Multi media presentations, poems, playing the bugle and introductions were all done by the girls. I would like to acknowledge Mrs Fran Musico Rullo  for her work on the assembly. It was a very moving and fitting ceremony to mark ANZAC Day.

Finally, I would like to wish the debaters all the best as we embark on another season of debating this year. We have a large contingent of debaters, madame chairs and timekeepers for this year. It is wonderful to see so many girls give up their Friday evening to contribute to this very worthwhile activity. I would like to thank Ms Pulham for her organisation and hard work in providing the opportunity for the girls.

In closing, a final prayer as we celebrate the Easter season.

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

God is on the Loose

The tomb is empty
The stone laid back
The womb is full
The stones cry out for joy
Risen one stand among us
Speak your words of peace
That we may participate
In your just living

Volume 29 Issue 5

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

Where has this term gone? It is hard to believe that as you read this, you will be preparing for Easter and the girls will be welcoming their first break in the year.

We have had a number of events more recently which has seen the College hosting groups of people for various reasons. Last Thursday, we hosted 310 Year 5 girls from the local area for the Year 5 workshops. Despite pouring rain and windy conditions, the girls had a wonderful time experiencing life at St Patrick’s. They made sherbet in the Science labs, paper mache animals in Art and lots of fun in Drama, Dance, Music and HSIE. Each girl seemed to enjoy their day and certainly our girls enjoyed extending the hospitality for which the College is known. For many of our visitors, this was their first experience of being in an educational environment without the boys and quite a few of them found it liberating. It was particularly gratifying to see the leadership displayed by the St Patrick’s students who assisted for the day. They were wonderful ambassadors of the College.

The following day, we hosted a preview of the new building for ex-students and past staff. The facility was excellent for the event and all were thrilled with the new spaces for the students and staff. We were able to touch base with these strong supporters of St Patrick’s and share with them the good news coming from the College. The new building works will be ready for us to accommodate next term. We have taken parents attending the parent forums through to have a look also and they have expressed their satisfaction. We will do some further refurbishment of the old classrooms 1 to 3 during term 2 so that the whole space upstairs will be refreshed. Once all of this is finished, we will have a blessing and grand opening when you will be invited to attend with official guests.

Last week we held the P&F AGM. It was pleasing to see a number of parents present for the meeting. All of the positions were vacated. I would like to extend my thanks to the new executive of the P&F.

President:    Denise Egan (Roisin Year 9)

Vice President: Claire Montgomery (Tori Year 10)

Secretary:        Liz Henson (Ella Year 12)

Treasurer:       George Gatt (Emma Year 10)

I would like to also express my appreciation to Monique Keogh, who held the P&F Vice President role prior to this for several years and the Alumni President role prior to that. She continues to be a strong advocate of the College and has given many years of dedicated service to its activities. The P&F also presented a cheque to the College for $25,000 from their funds. This will be used to purchase a laser cutter that all girls will be able to use through their courses. We are now in the business of selecting a suitable machine and will then train staff to use it safely. I would like to thank the P&F for their generous support. This will really provide some great opportunities for the girls in their classes.

At the end of the term we will say farewell to Ms Aoife Gallagher who held a position at the College whilst Mr Paul Ashkar was on long service leave. We wish her well for the future and thank her for her time at the College. Sadly, we will also farewell Mrs Judy Holt. Mrs Holt has been at the College for over 15 Years. She began when the McGowen system was still in operation and has seen the College evolve and change significantly over the years. She held Administration Coordinator for several years and more recently has been part time. Her gentle and humble manner have endeared her to all staff and we wish her every happiness as she moves to ‘properly retire’ to the coast.

A reminder to all our parents ahead of the break at the end of Term 1, that school zones remain in place for the safety of our children and families. School zones operate on all gazetted school days, which are all days the school is open, even pupil free days.

Each year, the Australian Government Department of Education and Training collect residental address information and I have attached a copy of the letter from the department for you. If you have any questions regarding this notice, you can contact the department by email: seshelpdesk@education.gov.au or phone (free call): SES helpdesk on 1800 677 027 (Option 4).

Finally, all the staff wish you a peaceful Easter. My hope is that the good news that He has risen will fill your Easter with joy and appreciation for all the blessings He has given us in our lives.

I will leave you with an Easter Blessing from the Green Heart of the Snowdrop

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

How beautiful is the blossom
spilling from the tree,
the hidden primrose
and the bluebell
ringing out the news.
He is risen
he is alive
we shall live
for evermore.
The dark winter is past,
the slow, cold, foggy days are over

May the warmth of your resurrection
touch our hearts and minds
as the warmth of the sun
blesses our bodies.

Volume 29 Issue 4

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

Last week we celebrated St Patrick’s Day and you could be forgiven for thinking we were in Ireland with the rain and the overcast conditions. Despite the weather, it was a good day as we celebrated mass at St Paul’s, Camden, then travelled back to school for a barbeque which was kindly cooked by our P&F and followed by the cross country and activities. The rain held off so we could still run most of the activities but the conditions were boggy. Thank you to those girls who had a role to play and entered into the spirit of the day with such energy. Particular thanks to our Irish dancers who excelled themselves with probably the best display of dancing we have ever seen at the College.

The following day, Saturday 18 March, we had the Emerald Gala Dinner Dance at The Cube. It was a fabulous evening. With over 300 guests, we were entertained with an excellent performance from both ‘Ricky Martin’ and ‘Michael Buble’! Then the five piece band continued to provide music for the guests to dance the night away. We managed to raise over $40,000 which will go to the Student Scholarship Fund held at the College. I would like to acknowledge the committee who drove this event for well over a year, Mrs Julie O’Keefe, Mrs Peta Borg, Mrs Marion Windle, Ms Jean Alim, Mrs Donna O’Neill, Mrs Danielle Grant, Ms Deb Renshaw and Mrs Katherine Power. We are all indebted to them for their tireless work for this event. In addition to this, you will see the logos of the major sponsors for the event on the website . We could not have raised these funds without their sponsorship so we are also very appreciative of their financial support. Finally, a number of girls contributed to the evening either as ushers or music and stage performers. They were exceptional and certainly made a significant impact on the outcome of the evening.

Last week, I spoke to the girls about their presence in the community. We have recently had good reason to celebrate the achievements and successes of the girls. They continue to be applauded for their behaviour and talent. Whenever a girl wears the uniform, she represents herself, her family and our College community, in that order. I recalled an incident at my own school when I was younger and how my uniform and role at my school caused me to be a target of some ridicule at the railway station. I am sure some of our girls have experienced similar events as they walk to stations and bus stops in our uniform. Wearing our uniform brings with it privilege and responsibility. I asked the girls to be mindful of how they will be viewed in the community through their language, behaviour and interactions with others. Whenever one girl behaves in a way that is not appropriate, it reflects on more than just herself and all the strengths and positive qualities in our community can be dismissed and forgotten due to her behaviour. I asked that they work together to ensure they represent themselves, their families and their College appropriately whenever they wear the College uniform.

Next week, we will be hosting Year 5 workshops at the College.  We will have over 300 girls participating in various workshops of their choice. It is a good day for these girls to experience life in an all girl school. If you know of anyone who is considering St Patrick’s College for Girls for high school, I ask that you alert them to the Year 5 workshops. Girls from all schools attend and invariably have a very entertaining and informative day. Please contact the office if you would like to register your daughter, niece or granddaughter.

The College is implementing a new parent portal through our new management system. Through this secure portal, you will be able to access information about your daughter and also book parent teacher student interviews. It is password protected and can only be accessed through your email address. A letter will be sent home in the coming days to inform you of the process to use this service. Whilst we have tried to plan and foresee all the anomalies, some may come out of the woodwork! Please feel free to give us any feedback that will be helpful.

Next Monday is the P&F AGM. I would like to encourage you to attend and consider a position on the executive team. The meeting is in the Benedict Centre at 7pm.

I will leave you with a prayer from St Patrick’s breastplate.

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

 St Patrick’s breastplate

Volume 29 Issue 3

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

Last Wednesday was International Women’s Day. It was pleasing to note the attention this received in the media and the discussion generated about equity across the genders. Unfortunately, women continue to experience discrimination because of gender, which impacts on their opportunities and access to resources. In addition to this, women experience greater levels of sexual harassment and violence across the community. Whilst there have been great strides in access to education and attainment of education qualifications so that women now surpass men, that isn’t translating into securing employment in the higher pay brackets.

Last Friday we celebrated International Women’s Day with a breakfast at the College. Two ex-students, Chris Hutch (Class of 1967) and Kylie Seymour (Class of 2004) returned to speak of their life after St Pat’s and the impact the College had on their development. Once again, it was a great morning. It was inspiring to hear what these women had achieved over their lives so far and how St Pat’s has continued to nurture strong independent women ready to make an impact on their world.

Adolescence is a turbulent and difficult time for many young people. They are transitioning from a very ego-centric view of their world to one that is far more respectful and mindful of the existence of others. That awareness brings with it a greater sense of compassion, empathy and respect for the other. Maturity is a key element that will underpin the success of this transition. For parents and teachers, we work carefully with the developing adolescent to support and guide them through the maze. Invariably there will be some pain. Friendships will blossom and others will fracture. Girls will feel abandoned and left out and others will feel included and embraced. This is a natural transition. These experiences give the girls opportunities to develop skills, build resilience and learn how to live with others in community. When ex-students gather together many years later and they reflect on their younger selves, there can sometimes be a sense of reflection on how well or not so well they managed this transition. This happens in all schools across the country.

As parents, it can be difficult to see your daughter distressed or maligned by friends. Our immediate response can be to protect her and fix it. When this happens, we occasionally have parents making claims that their daughter is being bullied. The College’s first response is to check it meets the criteria of bullying. That is: is it targeted, is it regular and have there been several occurrences, is there an imbalance of power and is it ongoing? If the answer to these questions is yes, we immediately implement the Personal Protection and Respect Policy and conduct a full investigation. The College holds a very strong position on dealing with bullying behaviour. More often though it is inappropriate behaviour displayed by students who are managing the transition of adolescence. This behaviour is not condoned and there are consequences for poor behaviour of any sort, however, it is not necessarily bullying. We keep a record of these misbehaviours and if a student has a number of such infringements, then her intimidating behaviour will attract further consequences. The Personal Protection and Respect Policy is in the student diary and I encourage you to read this as it is very comprehensive and clear about our approach.

Assisting adolescents to grow into mature responsible young adults can be a labour of love but a very worthwhile investment. Eventually they get it and the result is very rewarding. If your daughter has any of these experiences, please inform the College so that we can firstly identify what is really happening and then deal with the issues and the individuals in a way that is productive and supportive. In partnership we stand a better chance of achieving a happy resolution.

We have moved into the season of Lent and I will leave you with a short reflection.

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

Lent is a call to weep for what we could have been and are not. 
Lent is the grace to grieve for what we should have done and did not. 
Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not. 
Lent is not about penance. 
Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.
Lent is a summons to live anew.
Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

Volume 27 Issue 14

From the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College Community
St Patrick's College Campbelltown

Last weekend we all celebrated and recognised the contribution fathers and father figures have in our lives. On Friday evening we hosted our P & F annual Father Daughter Dinner. Once again it was a wonderful evening. Father and father figures are a significant influence on the development of healthy daughters. These men are the first males who show a genuine interest in her as a young woman. The encouragement and affirmation she receives of her worth, beauty and value from her dad or father figure will set her up for future positive, life giving relationships.

Sadly as girls develop into young women, Dad’s tend to move away. The mothers take a more prominent role in mentoring and guiding their daughters through the maze of adolescence. Whilst this is valuable and essential it doesn’t need to be at the cost of the relationship daughters have with their fathers. Only Dad’s really know what is going through the minds of adolescent boys and as such can offer good advice and protection to their daughter. The Father Daughter Dance is an opportunity to nurture this trusting bond between daughter and father. It is always wonderful to see both Dads and daughters, awkward in their moves, as they make their way around the dance floor during the various barn dances, but enjoying each other’s company and having fun.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend on this occasion as my own father was in hospital and his health at 88 isn’t quite as robust as when he was younger. He is making steady progress now but I thank Mrs Wright and Mrs McGeachie for being there in my absence. Thank you also to Mr Matt Tranby who did a sterling job I am told as MC and once again Jodie Stuart and the P&F with Ms Deb Renshaw for hosting the event.

Father’s Day marks the beginning of National Child Protection Week. Child protection is a crucial area of risk in schools. The recent disclosures heard in the media coming out of the Royal Commission on Institutional Child Abuse has highlighted the responsibility held by schools and the negligence perpetrated under their watch in the past. Mr Sullivan from the Truth Justice and Healing Council quoted  “Unless we are able to provide environments where the primary focus is on children, their participation is valued , they are safe and their carer’s are appropriately selected and trusted, then children will continue to be at risk”.

This year’s theme is ‘ Be Someone Who Listens to Children’. We continue to be sensitive to the needs and voice of the girls in our care. I ask that you inform us of any concerns you may have around child protection and we will continue to work with our staff to ensure the girls are safe and appropriately protected at the College.

Over the last fortnight we have hosted the newly installed Parent Forums. Thank you to those parents who were able to join us. It was good to share the building project with you and then discuss topics more relevant to the two schools in the College. The minutes of the meetings will be sent out to all parents in the coming weeks.

There have been a number of successes achieved by the girls over the last fortnight. These have been included further in this edition but I would like to congratulate all the girls for their wonderful achievements and encourage them to continue to pursue their best in all their endeavours.

Sadly we need to say thank you and farewell to Mrs Jennie Sargisson. Mrs Sargisson has accepted a promotional position elsewhere and leaves us at the end of the term. We wish her every success in her new role and school and thank her for the work she has engaged in at the College over the last few years.

During the week we celebrated Mary, mother of Jesus’ birthday. During the communion service on Tuesday we said a decade of the Rosary. It brought me back to my primary school days where we would go through all the decades. It was like a mantra and I reflected on how this way of praying is a dying form in some parts. For many of the girls present it would have been a very different experience to the norm. So I invite you to perhaps say a decade with the family in the coming weeks. I will leave you with the prayer Hail Mary at the conclusion of the editorial.

Please keep in your prayers the Year 11 girls who are in their exam period. It brings the Preliminary Courses to a close and I am sure many of them will be getting a taste of the year to come. Also keep in your prayers the Year 12 girls as they come to their final week at school. Our news and events page on the website will display highlights of the week but I have the parents, staff and girls in my thoughts as they come to the conclusion of 12 years of education.

Blessings

Sue Lennox

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

Volume 29 Issue 2

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

This Saturday we are hosting our annual open day. There will be many activities and displays at the College which will showcase the wonderful opportunities available to the girls enrolled. We have many students who will take parents and girls on tours of the site and as well we have our new facilities open for all to see. Please come along if you would like to view the College. Perhaps there are friends or family who are considering St Patrick’s for their high school years? Bring them along or let them know we are open on Saturday 25 February from 10am until 2 pm.

I have no doubt you will have heard the furore in the press around the requirement that Year 9 students 2017 need to attain band 8 in NAPLAN to be eligible to achieve the HSC in 2020. I would like to highlight that this is a level of achievement in Year 9 that the girls can use in three years’ time for their HSC. What concerns me, is the pressure and angst that this is causing in the outside community which, in turn, will impact on the young people sitting for their NAPLAN in May this year. Whilst I suspect there will be a number of Year 9 girls who will not achieve band 8 in all parts of the exam this year, I am confident they will achieve the required benchmark at some point in the subsequent three years so that they will be eligible for the HSC in 2020. Maintaining standards and rigour in the HSC through NAPLAN is important, however there is equal value in continuing to work on important skills across the board, that are not represented in the NAPLAN exam. Our girls will be prepared and will continue to have learning experiences that build their skills and expertise across all areas.

In this new digital age, we embrace the many ways we can communicate to our parents and community, on a daily basis. For many of our new parents joining the College Community, our official Facebook page is filled with real-time classroom pictures, inspirational quotes for students and parents, reminders about special events and dates to save, educational articles and celebrations of success. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to “like” our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/saintpatrickscollegecampbelltown and read the great posts.

We have also launched our Twitter account and although similar to Facebook in the kind of information we post, many of our staff contribute to this page with what they are doing in class and various articles on girls’ education. I encourage you to follow us on Twitter – our handle is @SPC_StPats.

Saturday 18 March is the day of our Emerald Gala Dinner Dance. You are most welcome to join us on the night. The tickets are $110 which is inclusive of music, entertainment, food and refreshments. Tables of 10 are $1,000 which is a saving on each ticket. We will have a number of live and silent auction items, a great raffle and each table will have a mystery box. We hope you will be able to join us. Collect some friends and book a table. It will be a fantastic night if you enjoy good food, good music and entertainment and terrific prizes of varying value. Just call the office and they will assist you with your booking.

We also have a VIP Sneak Preview Cocktail Party for past staff and students of the new building. If you would like to come, please contact the office for the details and leave your details. The event will be held in the Atrium on Friday 31 March from 6pm to 8pm.

We are now well into the term. I imagine all parents will have a desire for their daughter to do well and that they will provide the best support for her to achieve success in her learning.

There is ample evidence to demonstrate that the interaction and involvement of parents in their child’s education has a lasting positive effect on their child’s learning outcomes. How will you support your daughter? What will your support look like? Will you work with her on managing the assessments once the handbooks have been issued? Will you ensure there are minimal distractions and disruptions when she is doing her work at home? Will you insist that the telephone is kept out of the bedroom at night so she has an uninterrupted sleep? Our Year Coordinators and Pastoral Advisors have contacted you via email welcoming you to the year. I encourage you to communicate with them regularly. They will endeavor to respond generally within 24 hours. I also encourage you to attend the evenings we have calendared, as they have important information about how to support your daughter. All staff have a College email address. It is first initial followed by surname then @saintpatricks.nsw.edu.au.

Finally, we have the P&F AGM coming up on Monday 27 March. All positions will be open, so I would encourage you to consider assisting, in some way. The P&F are an enormous support to the College at the different events, so more hands will be greatly appreciated.

I will leave you with a reflection from a Ute prayer

Blessings

Sue Lennox

Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.

God Speaks in Many Tongues – Joan Chittister

Welcome back for 2017

Since beginning in 2017, we have been celebrating the successes of the HSC class of 2016. We had our high achievers assembly last Tuesday and again we invited back some ex-students to the Year 11 Parent Information Evening this week. The message which has been articulated consistently has been the support provided by the College  and the value of an all-girl learning environment. Consistently, the girls who have spoken in these forums have said that where they collaborate and assist each other in their learning, they have reaped the benefit. Each student in each course is ranked against the others in the course during Year 12 and this creates competition. When the girls use this competition to strive to achieve their personal best and share their knowledge and expertise with their classmates who seek help, both the individual students and the whole class benefit from the gain. When students use these rankings and competition as a means of isolating themselves and holding back from assisting others because of the threat this poses to their own rankings, everyone suffers. Both College Duxes were able to attest to how their own learning and understanding were consolidated when they had to explain concepts to their class peers. This is a  common quality in an all-girl classroom. Whilst girls love competition, girls will perform best in a collaborative learning environment.

Again, there has been high media attention to the benefits of all girls vs coeducational learning settings. Through the year we continue to welcome girls who seek an all-girls classroom because they recognise their coed classroom is not meeting their needs. In an all-girl environment, the girls can be themselves. As adult women, I think we can sometimes forget the strong influence boys had on our developing adolescent self. Next week, we will have our swimming carnival. The level of participation of the girls and the freedom they feel to have a go is directly attributable to the fact that there are no boys present. This permission to be themselves is repeated in many forums across the College. As the girls develop in confidence, recognise their strengths and abilities, they won’t be told they are incapable of achieving something based on their gender.

Whilst an all-girls learning environment has documented advantages for a girl’s success, it is still essential that girls enjoy the company of the boys in social events. Here the dances hosted at the College with the boys from St Gregory’s College are very well supported. They are calendared each term and create quite a bit of excitement. The girls also have opportunity to enjoy the boys’ company in events such as the musical, debating, leadership workshops and other combined activities. Social media now also has provided added avenues for the girls and boys to communicate and socialise in mutually respectful ways. I am currently visiting the Catholic primary schools, speaking to the girls in Years 5 and 6 about St Patrick’s and there is always a visible exclamation of relief when I mention the classrooms at St Pat’s don’t have boys!

2017 is the year of Balance and we will work towards establishing some balance in all that we do. St Benedict would say that a good life needs time to work , time to study and time to pray. These three aspects of living enable us to appreciate what we have and give us time to reflect on the more important things of our existence. I hope you are able to give yourself permission to let go of the things that are excessive in your life and attend to the important things that are depleted at times. I will finish with a reflection on Balance using the acronym B.R.E.A.D

Balance mean state:
Removing excesses,
Ensuring the essentials,
Aiming at purity of heart,
Discerning what’s in line with this aim.

Blessings
Sue Lennox

Volume 29 Issue 1

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

Welcome back to the school year.  We warmly welcome all of our new families and girls. It certainly has been a very hot and humid start and we can only hope that the weather will settle over February so that the girls are feeling more comfortable. Fortunately all of the classrooms have air conditioning so the girls and staff are able to continue working and the learning isn’t compromised. We have opened the Mary Sheil Centre during the breaks so the girls can sit in there, however conditions are less than pleasant. The irony is not lost on many of us as we use our electric air conditioners for longer and harder due to the excessive heat brought about by climate change due to our insatiable appetite for non renewable energy!

I would also like to welcome our new staff to the College. Mr Luke David is the new Mathematics Coordinator, Miss Emma Randell is the Dance Teacher and Mrs Vanessa Singles is our new Music Teacher, Ms Aoife Gallagher is a Mathematics Teacher taking Mr Ashkar’s classes for Term 1 whilst he is on leave, and Mrs Leanne Knox, our new part-time Science Lab Assistant. We have a few staff returning from lengthy leave. Mrs Shobna Sharma, Mrs Melissa Arena and Ms Sophie Georgiou. We are delighted to have these staff members returning to the College. Over the holidays Mr Ghanem was able to secure a permanent position elsewhere, which means he is no longer at the College. We will be inviting him back to say farewell. Photos of the new and returning staff are included in this edition of the Inside Out.

The building project to coming to a conclusion. The staff have now moved into their new facilities and finding the spaces very conducive to productive professional collaboration. The new learning spaces will be completed prior to Open Day which will enable us to showcase them to our prospective parents. These spaces are light, airy and flexible and will accommodate our 21st century learning pedagogies beautifully. We will have an official opening later in 2017.

Since beginning in 2017, we have been celebrating the successes of the HSC class of 2016. A more detailed report is included in this edition for your information. We had our high achievers assembly last Tuesday and again we invited back some ex-students to the Year 11 Parent Information Evening this week. The message which has been articulated consistently has been the support provided by the College  and the value of an all-girl learning environment. Consistently, the girls who have spoken in these forums have said that where they collaborate and assist each other in their learning, they have reaped the benefit. Each student in each course is ranked against the others in the course during Year 12 and this creates competition. When the girls use this competition to strive to achieve their personal best and share their knowledge and expertise with their classmates who seek help, both the individual students and the whole class benefit from the gain. When students use these rankings and competition as a means of isolating themselves and holding back from assisting others because of the threat this poses to their own rankings, everyone suffers. Both College Duxes were able to attest to how their own learning and understanding were consolidated when they had to explain concepts to their class peers. This is a  common quality in an all-girl classroom. Whilst girls love competition, girls will perform best in a collaborative learning environment.

Again, there has been high media attention to the benefits of all girls vs coeducational learning settings. Through the year we continue to welcome girls who seek an all-girls classroom because they recognise their coed classroom is not meeting their needs. In an all-girl environment, the girls can be themselves. As adult women, I think we can sometimes forget the strong influence boys had on our developing adolescent self. Next week, we will have our swimming carnival. The level of participation of the girls and the freedom they feel to have a go is directly attributable to the fact that there are no boys present. This permission to be themselves is repeated in many forums across the College. As the girls develop in confidence, recognise their strengths and abilities, they won’t be told they are incapable of achieving something based on their gender.

Whilst an all-girls learning environment has documented advantages for a girl’s success, it is still essential that girls enjoy the company of the boys in social events. Here the dances hosted at the College with the boys from St Gregory’s College are very well supported. They are calendared each term and create quite a bit of excitement. The girls also have opportunity to enjoy the boys’ company in events such as the musical, debating, leadership workshops and other combined activities. Social media now also has provided added avenues for the girls and boys to communicate and socialise in mutually respectful ways. I am currently visiting the Catholic primary schools, speaking to the girls in Years 5 and 6 about St Patrick’s and there is always a visible exclamation of relief when I mention the classrooms at St Pat’s don’t have boys!

We are currently preparing for Open Day which will be held on Saturday 25 February. We enrol Year 5 students who will begin high school in 2019 and have some vacancies for Year 7 2018 at the moment. If you know of anyone who may consider St Patrick’s for their daughter, niece, granddaughter or friend, you may like to let them know of our Open Day. More information is in this edition.

2017 is the year of Balance and we will work towards establishing some balance in all that we do. St Benedict would say that a good life needs time to work , time to study and time to pray. These three aspects of living enable us to appreciate what we have and give us time to reflect on the more important things of our existence. I hope you are able to give yourself permission to let go of the things that are excessive in your life and attend to the important things that are depleted at times. I will finish with a reflection on Balance using the acronym B.R.E.A.D

Balance mean state:
Removing excesses,
Ensuring the essentials,
Aiming at purity of heart,
Discerning what’s in line with this aim..

Blessings

Sue Lennox